The group draw for the European League of Legends Championship Series has been locked in for the forthcoming Summer Split. The format for the the EU LCS was altered at the beginning of the year, splitting the 10 teams in the region into two groups of five. The teams occupying the two groups are decided by EU LCS team representatives in a snake draft format, where each representative picks a team to go in the opposing group and then the next organisation picks a team for the other group.
The two top seeds, G2 eSports and Unicorns of Love, began the drafting process by removing fellow title contenders H2K-Gaming and Fnatic from the equation respectively. As the groups unravelled, the process mirrored the drafting process witnessed ahead of the 2017 Spring Split. G2 eSports, Fnatic, Misfits and Team ROCCAT will compete within Group A, whilst Unicorns of Love, H2K-Gaming, Splyce and Vitality will battle it out in Group B.
Fnatic and G2 eSports will likely be the two frontrunners to fight for the top spot in Group A with the possible contention of Misfits. Group B once again looks to be the more competitive of the two, with Spring Split runners-up, Unicorns of Love, drawn against decent H2k-Gaming and Splyce outfits. The only deviations are the relegation threatened squads, newcomers Ninjas in Pyjamas and Mysterious Monkeys are expected to sit at the foot of their respective groups.
In the wake of the drafting process, representatives from each organisation were asked to provide their reaction to the draw and the reasoning behind their individual drafts:
“H2K is a formidable opponent, a really good challenger for us, so we’d rather have them in the playoff stage than in the group stage.
“At the same time… we just like playing against Fnatic.
“We would like to get another title – that wall in the studio is going to be ours again.”
Jakub “Lothar” Szygulski, G2 eSports Represenative
Unicorns of Love
“I think that Fnatic right now, with the old coach Finlay, looked very strong and their roster seems to be promising.
“I expect more of them than they showed last split, therefore I picked them in the other group.”Fabian “Sheepy” Mallant, Unicorns of Love Head Coach
“I think Misfits had the least impactful roster change coming out of the split.
“The other two main choices were Splyce or Vitality and I think both of them had pretty big shake-ups.”
Neil “PR0LLY” Hammad, H2K-Gaming Head Coach
“We expected there was a decent chance we would actually be chosen by G2 and hopefully we can make G2 regret that.
“We’re not playing for second place in our group, we’re playing for first.”
Dylan Falco, Fnatic Head Coach
“You never know what the NiP roster can do, maybe they pop off or maybe they botch completely as everyone is expecting.”
Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi, Team Vitality Head Coach
“We really only played one style so I think people will prepare better for us, so they don’t see us as a threat.
“I think it’s pretty fair where we placed.”
Fabian “Grabbz” Lohmann, Team ROCCAT Head Coach
“It’s always easier to play without pressure of people thinking that you need to win.”
Petar “Unlimited” Georgiev, Mysterious Monkeys Head Coach
Ninjas in Pyjamas
“NiP is a totally fresh team, so we’re coming in and we can do really good or we can do really bad… but we have high hopes.”
“Pretty much the group draw went exactly how I thought it would go and I think that’s for more teams as well.”
Fayan “Gevous” Pertijs, Splyce Head Coach
“I think it’s finally the time for G2 to fall off the throne and I’m very confident we can do that”
Hussain “Daku” Moosvi, Misfits Head Coach